Power 100

Most influential people in 2023 in the contemporary artworld


Torkwase Dyson

Artist - Centring a Black experience of space and architecture

74 in 2023

  • 202374
  • 2022
  • 2021
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  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
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Photo: Suzie Howell

In her dwarfing steel sculptures, Dyson centres a Black experience of space and architecture. ‘Black people are still living in the wake of that industry, in the wake of those oceans,’ she told Frieze. ‘We’re still in the wake of this thick air of what it means not only to survive such dispossession but to move on to autonomy without the granting of emancipation.’ The sleek corporate shine of Blackbasebeingbeyond (2023) at the Bienal de São Paulo belied its formal reference to a castle in which recaptured enslaved people were imprisoned. Iterations of Liquid a Place (2021–), a series relating to the political space of water, appeared at the Liverpool Biennial and Desert X Coachella, while she also took part in Seoul Mediacity Biennale. Her works are often platforms for performances by poets, musicians and dancers, the monumental structures enabling a wider network of collaborators and ideas. Alongside a solo show at Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis, Dyson presented Birds and Lava (Scott Joplin), a pavilionlike public sculpture throughout which the music of titular ragtime pianist played.

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